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ISP iiNet has wasted no time taking advantage of a new backhaul route in Western Australia, deploying three DSLAM racks in the Geraldton exchange.
The new 426 kilometre link connected Geraldton to Perth and was the first of six being deployed across Australia by Nextgen Networks as part of the Government's $250m backhaul blackspots scheme to go live.
iiNet's immediate investment in the region – under the Westnet brand – added about 2,500 "new points of broadband access".
More would be available from ISPs and systems integrators that provided residential and business internet services on a resold Nextep wholesale platform.
NEC-owned Nextep said it had installed DSLAM equipment in four exchanges on the Geraldton route, "effectively covering the entire greater Geraldton area, not just the CBD".
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said that competitive backhaul services "had particularly been a problem in WA".
"In 2007, the WA Government indicated that backbone costs were 250 to 700 percent higher in key regional WA towns where there was no competition, compared to areas where there was competition," Conroy said at the launch.
"The construction of these [new] backbone links is an immediate first step towards fixing this issue, introducing competition, as well as putting in place key infrastructure to support the National Broadband Network."
Conroy earlier attended the home of a Westnet customer that had been able to move up from ADSL1 to ADSL2+ because the new link cut costs of hauling traffic to and from Perth.
More Geraldton residents would benefit when the town became a second release mainland site for the NBN.
"Detailed planning work is currently underway and I expect construction to begin later this year," Conroy said.
The cable's construction not only benefitted the community by giving it access to faster and cheaper internet services but also injected significant funding into the region.
Builders Nextgen employed 40 people working six months, spending "more than $450,000 on accommodation and close to $200,000 on meals for these workers."
"[The company] conservatively injected a further $480,000 or so into local businesses through storage facilities, local couriers, vehicles, taxis, printing, traffic management and the like," Conroy noted.
It appeared similar outcomes could be expected in other areas opened to backhaul competition by the Government's $250m scheme.
Nextep said it planned to install DSLAMs in 62 locations to be serviced by the new backhaul links, which it would package as a wholesale service for retail ISPs.
The company said it would offer "live ADSL2+ and SHDSL services to customers in the other [blackspot] areas of Victor Harbour, South Australia by March and South-West Gippsland, Victoria by April".
"Customers located on longer sections of the network reaching areas like Darwin, Broken Hill, South Australia's Riverland, Emerald and Longreach, and Victoria's Riverina are expected to go live later in the year," a Nextstep spokesman said.
Conroy noted that "two-thirds of the work" to complete the 6,000 kilometre nationwide network had been completed.
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